Britain's main stock market closes at record high

The City, London. (Shutterstock)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Britain's main stock market closes at record high

  • The index ended Thursday's session 0.7 percent higher at 7,787.97

LONDON: Britain's FTSE 100 index of leading shares has closed at a record high.
The index ended Thursday's session 0.7 percent higher at 7,787.97, surpassing its previous peak of 7,778 in mid-January.
Since then, the index, like others around the world, has been hugely volatile. A bout of selling in February partly linked to fears about U.S. protectionism prompted many to think that stocks would endure a difficult year in 2018.
Many of those investor fears have eased and stocks around the world have advanced.
British stocks have benefited from the pound's recent renewed weakness. As well as potentially boosting exports, a lower pound is good news for many of the multinational companies listed in London, as the money they make abroad will be worth more when brought back to the U.K.


Strike-hit Ryanair warns fares to remain soft as summer profit falls

Updated 11 min 42 sec ago
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Strike-hit Ryanair warns fares to remain soft as summer profit falls

  • Ryanair three weeks ago cut its forecast for full-year profit by 12 percent
  • Europe’s largest low-cost carrier has struggled with labor relations since it bowed to pressure to recognize trade unions for the first time last December
DUBLIN: Ryanair reported a 7 percent fall in profit during its key April-September season on Monday, citing higher fuel costs and damage to bookings caused by strikes, and said European short-haul airfares would remain soft this winter.
Ryanair three weeks ago cut its forecast for full-year profit by 12 percent and warned that worse may follow if a recent wave of pilot and cabin crew strikes across Europe continue to hit traffic and bookings.
Europe’s largest low-cost carrier has struggled with labor relations since it bowed to pressure to recognize trade unions for the first time last December. It said it hoped to finalize more union agreements in the coming months but could not rule out further industrial action.
Shares of Ryanair, which is also counting the cost of stubbornly high fuel prices, closed on Friday at €11.51, down 20 percent compared to three months ago and down 40 percent from a peak of €19.39 in August last year before its staff problems emerged.
Ryanair, which traditionally makes most of its profit in the summer, reported a profit of €1.2 billion ($1.38 billion) in the six months to September 30. It reiterated its full-year profit forecast of between €1.1 billion and €1.2 billion.
That would represent a 17-24 percent fall from the record €1.45 billion post-tax profit booked in its most recent financial year to March 31.
A poll of over 10 analysts by Ryanair ahead of the results found an average forecast of €1.127 billion for the full year and €1.175 billion for the six months to September 30.
“This full year guidance remains heavily dependent on air fares not declining further — they remain soft this winter due to excess capacity in Europe — (and) the impact of significantly higher oil prices on our unhedged exposures,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said in a statement.
But he said Ryanair’s cost advantage over rivals is widening and “over the medium term, consolidation will create growth opportunities for Ryanair’s lowest fare/lowest cost model.”